Howlin' Wolf, born on June 10, 1910 in West Point, Mississippi, was a blues singer, guitarist, and harmonica player. He played a crucial role in bridging the early Delta Blues with the more modern Electric Blues. Influenced by Charley Patton and Sonny Boy Williamson II, he honed his guitar skills and showmanship on the Mississippi Delta. By the late 1930s, he had become a prominent figure on the Southern Club scene.
After serving in the U.S. Army from April 9, 1941 to November 3, 1943, Howlin' Wolf settled near West Memphis, Arkansas. In 1948, he formed a band that included talented musicians such as Willie Johnson and Matt "Guitar" Murphy on guitars, Little Junior Parker on harmonica, and Willie Steele on drums.
In 1951, Sam Phillips recorded several of Howlin' Wolf's songs at his Memphis Recording Service studio. This catapulted him to local fame. Leonard Chess recognized his talent and secured his contract which led to Howlin' Wolf relocating to Chicago in 1952 where he solidified his legendary status.
Playing alongside renowned blues musicians like Willie Dixon and Jimmy Rogers as well as his longtime guitarist Hubert Sumlin ensured that Howlin' Wolf's lineups remained exceptional throughout his career. His reputation for treating musicians fairly set him apart from others in the industry